Category Archives: Happiness

Domestic Bliss

A very good evening

from the Lifestyle Support Guru! As you know, I am an expert in the kitchen, especially when it comes to Pot Noodles or microwave meals – these are the talk of the town! Today, however, I decided to branch out a little and turn the oven on (this is known as a ‘blue moon oven’) so that I would be able to prepare a tasty, healthy and nutritious feast for the sickly DODO.
I had all the necessary ingredients to prepare oven-baked cod fillets and potato rösti. By ‘ingredients’, I mean, of course, that the items had instructions on their packaging. The rösti instructions were fine – put in the oven and turn once halfway through. In case I had misunderstood the instructions, I not only turned the rösti but did a little turn myself in a joyful, exuberant manner, skipping up and down the kitchen, singing ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ (mainly because my efforts hadn’t yet activated the smoke alarm).

It was the cod fillets that caused some consternation, however, since their instructions required them to be ‘wrapped in lightly oiled foil, making a small parcel’. A parcel? A PARCEL? (screeched in my head in the manner of Lady Bracknell exclaiming ‘A handbag? A HANDBAG?’ in ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’). For goodness’ sake, these are cod fillets, not birthday or Christmas presents. The only time anyone gets anything wrapped from me is when I order something through Amazon and it asks if it’s a gift.

I finally found the foil wrap (on top of the kitchen cupboard), brushed the dust off it, and ‘lightly oiled’ it – in other words, I liberally sprayed some of that ‘one cal’ cooking spray all over it – then lovingly wrapped the cod fillets in it as if they were delicate items of china and placed them gently on the baking tray alongside the rösti before I did my turn up and down the kitchen. (I am considering ‘I Will Survive’ for my next rendition.)

DODO ate everything and pronounced the fish tastier than the fish he’d had in a rather lovely French restaurant the week before! I did another turn up and down the kitchen, this time singing ‘Food, Glorious Food’. I am considering putting myself forward for the next season of ‘Masterchef’ – indeed, I may even aim for ‘Celebrity Masterchef’. ‘Reach for the Stars’, she sings joyfully,
(About ten minutes ago I asked DODO to look up the act who sang this and he dutifully did so, playing it out loud for me on his iPad to check he had the right song… we are now barred from the local.)

Nigella and SClub7, eat your hearts out!

Life Is Too Short

happy dance

Joie de Vivre

In view of the number of ‘greats’ who seem to have gone a little too early to the Rock Hall of Fame in the sky in the last few weeks, I thought it might be helpful if I gave you, my beloved followers, a few reasons to make sure that you live your life to the full before shuffling off this mortal coil. In other words, LIFE IS TOO SHORT…
1. …to worry about wearing matching underwear (or, in the case of male devotees, [fake] Calvin Klein underpants) in case you are run over by a bus. The conversation in A&E is not going to be (one hopes): ‘Oh no! I cannot treat this person who doesn’t have the style to wear matching bra and knickers or (fake) Calvin Klein underpants! Take them away and dress them properly, please, and then I will attend to their life-threatening injuries.’
2. …not to watch cute kitten/puppy videos which make you feel all gooey inside – the only other living creature who can do this is Idris Elba (insert your own ‘gooey’ person if Idris isn’t your ‘goo’ of choice), and you’re more likely to meet a cute kitten/puppy than meet Idris (or other ‘gooey’ person), so make the most of your chances to get that melting feeling (not to be confused with that feeling of melting because you’ve eaten a Vindaloo).
3. …to worry about diets. I don’t believe that we have evolved as a species to eat lettuce and

rabbit

cute bunny

carrots. If that were the case, we’d be rabbits and would probably feature in cute videos not featuring Idris Elba.
4. …to watch Eggheads. You are unlikely to meet a more self-satisfied, pompous and vainglorious (wonderful word!) group of people other than in Celebrity Big Brother or, maybe, the House of Commons.
5. …to count your alcohol units. This will become more and more irrelevant, anyway, as children will be required to use their fingers and toes instead of a calculator (latest government guidelines) and it’s virtually impossible to count using fingers and toes whilst holding a large glass of Sauvignon Blanc – believe me, I’ve tried, and have accidentally fallen over during the process, so imagine what it would be like for a mere mortal without my powers of control.
Sleep well – and let’s hope life isn’t TOO short and that you wake up tomorrow and read this!

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Happy

bokeh images

Happy lightness

A very good evening to all my followers! As winter draws (and drawers) ever nearer, I felt you might need some help and encouragement in seeing your way through these cold, dark nights. I have previously written about looking at the positive side of things, but I now have some further support to offer, having had some experience this week of looking on the bright side of life (hmm, that could be good title for a song…). Much of this advice is particularly pertinent to those of you who wear glasses or contact lenses – and for those of you who don’t, believe me – it will happen at some point!

sun glasses

sun glasses

You will need to visit your local, friendly optician for an eye test (free for those of us over a certain age) and casually drop into the conversation that you will be going to Africa in the near future so you wonder if you should get a pair of varifocals with light-reactive lenses, because it’s bound to be sunny and at the moment you only have a pair of boring, non-light-reactive bifocals (again, age will bring these delights for those of you who don’t need them just yet) which you wear as little as possible.
You think this might be a sensible (but expensive) idea in case you get some grit in your eye whilst on safari or lying on a sandy beach on Zanzibar (your local, friendly optician may start to look annoyed at this point) and have to remove your lenses and wear glasses instead. You explain that a few weeks ago you had to wear your glasses for longer than usual AND out in public (a rare occurrence) and it happened to be a sunny day (you may recall that day – August 17th, if my memory serves me well), so the only solution was to wear a pair of plain sunglasses on top of the ‘ordinary’ glasses. Now, while the Lifestyle Support Guru can get away with such a look, it is not something that ordinary mortals should cultivate because people will look at you in an odd fashion.

old shoe

old shoe

Your local, friendly optician, realising that you have already spent a fortune on the forthcoming trip to Africa (threadbare clothes, shoes with no soles, that sort of thing), will suggest a much cheaper option of daily contact lenses to take with you (I think he was still trying to picture the LSG driving around wearing sunglasses on top of ordinary glasses), which you agree sounds much more acceptable – and probably less frightening for those one might meet on one’s travels!
Your local, friendly optician then asks if you have any other questions and you mention that you have seen a product which might relieve your ‘dry eye’ problem (which is a bit misleading because ‘dry eye’ actually makes your eyes water!), which is an eye mask that is heated in the microwave before placing it over the eyes for 5-10 minutes. He agrees that this might be helpful and this is where the ‘looking on the bright side’ comes in – instead of feeling sad that you are getting older and things are starting to fall apart, you can feel happy because you now have an excuse to go back to bed for 10 minutes because you need to lie down in a darkened room twice a day!

woman lying on bed for rest

Lying down for 10 minutes

And the other experiences of looking on the positive side? An acquaintance offers earlier in the week to come round on Saturday morning to discuss possible plans for your garden (I use that term loosely), but you realise that you’d rather go and see ‘Spectre’ on Saturday, so you seek him out in the pub (where I meet most of my acquaintances) to offer your apologies and arrange another date. However, before you can say, ‘I’m really sorry, but something really urgent has come up tomorrow morning, so could we postpone the garden inspection?’, the acquaintance apologises profusely for not coming around THIS morning! ‘No problem!’ you reply sweetly, ‘We’ll rearrange it for another time. I can’t do tomorrow, though.’
And, finally, that ‘bright side’ moment when you realise you are up there with the ‘big players’. You have finally filled in your Tax Return (this is not a BIG Tax Return, believe me) after putting it off for months and you give details of the interest earned on your current account – a MASSIVE 13 pence! I think that’s probably more than Starbucks, Amazon and Google have paid put together, so I think George Osborne should be really grateful!

Always look on the bright side of life, dadah, dadadadadadah…
Enjoy your weekend, devoted acolytes!

The Perfect Host

dining table with guest settings

Hosting guests

A very good evening from the Lifestyle Support Guru!
Some time ago, I posted some advice on being the PERFECT GUEST. This evening I wish to expand on this, having hosted a weekend of VISITORS

. This time, if you follow this advice, you will ensure that everyone has a WONDERFUL TIME, whether as HOST or GUEST. Although there may seem to be a lot of instructions, they are really quite easy to follow and require little more than a group bus ticket and some stamina.

1. GUESTS should coordinate their arrival perfectly to ensure they all turn up at the same time – this means that the HOST has no time to worry about those last-minute arrangements, such as fresh flowers, which always add that little welcoming touch, I think. That said, I’m not sure that three hulking men away for a weekend of watching rugby and football would necessarily have noticed a lovely flower arrangement so, on second thoughts, don’t bother with the flowers. So there you are: you already have less to worry about!
2. Check how much wine you have in the fridge.

Wine

wine

3. Take your GUESTS and other friends on a tour of the local area to show them the lovely sights of Derbyshire – the Little Chester Ale House, the Black Bull’s Head, the Thorn Tree, the Five Lamps, the Coach and Horses (bar AND lounge).
4. Check how much wine you have in the fridge
5. One GUEST may tell you that he ALWAYS wakes up early, so he’ll go out for a walk in the morning to avoid disturbing everyone else. The HOST will come downstairs at about 9 the next morning to find the insomniac GUEST still

cat laughing

Laughing Cat

fast asleep on the sofa bed. The HOST should clean up the little mess on the carpet at the bottom of the bed which has been kindly left by one of the cats, but which has not woken the GUEST, even though the noise of a cat being sick is usually enough to wake the dead.
6. Check how much wine you have in the fridge.
7. Supply tea, coffee, toast as required, then wonder what the neighbours will think of one GUEST wandering around the garden in a t-shirt and underpants, which he decides will suffice instead of going for an early morning walk.
8. Check how much wine you have in the fridge.
9. The HOST should have a shower and stay upstairs drying hair and trying to repair the ravages of the previous day’s excesses so that GUESTS have time to wash up cups and plates (before the HOST points to the dishwasher).
10. Check how much wine you have in the fridge.
11. The HOST should take the GUESTS to a restaurant to taste the local specialities – a selection of tapas – before the party heads to another local hostelry (the Golden Eagle) for an afternoon’s rugby and more local specialities, this time garlic Scotch eggs. Eventually, at 9 pm, the insomniac GUEST will decide that he’s had enough so will be escorted home by the HOST who should ensure that he makes it safely to bed before returning to meet up again with the other GUESTS. The Ale House and Coach once more benefit from the GUESTS (minus one) and HOST wishing to make sure that they have no money (or brain cells) left at the end of the day.
12. Check how much wine you have in the fridge.

Large glass red wine

Large glass red wine

13. Wave goodbye to GUESTS the following morning (well, two out of three guests – one is having so much fun, he decides to stay another night).
14. Check how much wine you have in the fridge.
15. Monday morning: wave goodbye to the final GUEST after showing him the little dead bird that another of the cats felt would be a spectacular leaving present… and BREATHE!
16. Check how much wine you have in the house.

Satisfaction guaranteed with very little effort.

Quiz Question Giggles

Giggling girl

Giggle

A very good afternoon from the Lifestyle Support Guru! Today I am not going to offer any advice; instead, I am going to MAKE YOU GIGGLE with some quiz answers that have made me smile and GIGGLE in the last few days.

The first was a conversation overheard in the pub (where else?) the other evening during the quiz night. I will set the scene:
Mother and father, young son (about 11) and young daughter (about 14) are sitting at the table next to the LSG’s, waiting for a taxi to take them home after attending the nearby Concert in the Park. The question master asks, ‘Who

Elephant carrying people

Hannibal crossing the Alps

crossed the Alps with elephants?’
Mother (to the rest of her party): I think it was Hannibal.
Daughter: Who’s Hannibal?
M: He crossed the Alps with elephants.
D: Where are the Alps?
M: In France, I think.
D: No, that’s not right. The Alps are in South America. How could you cross them with elephants? They don’t have elephants in South America.
(LSG thinks: they’re not that common in France either.)
M: I thought you were doing Geography GCSE?
D: Yes, but we haven’t done the Alps.
Sadly, their taxi arrived at this point because I would have loved to hear their answers to the rest of the questions.

The second occasion to make me GIGGLE was last night. Once more, let me set the scene: my television has developed an annoying habit of tuning itself into random TV stations whenever I turn it on. Last night it was tuned into some station showing re-runs of old quiz programmes and ‘Bullseye’ was on, so I sat watching it for a few minutes whilst waiting for the cats to decide whether they wanted to stay in or go out (I spend quite a bit of time waiting for them to make their minds up).

Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama

Jim Bowen (you can do your own impressions): Now, Roy, your next question – who is the spiritual leader of Tibet?
Roy (brow furrowed): Erm, the Higher Llama?
JB (straight faced): I’m sorry; that’s wrong. Fran, do you know the answer?
Fran (big grin to go with her big hair and big glasses): Yes, it’s the Dire Llama.

Othello and Desdemona

Othello and Desdemona

And finally, my favourite, passed on to me by a good Geordie friend, whom I shall call Jo for the sake of convenience. Scene-setting: a family party a few years ago where they were playing Trivial Pursuit and Jo was helping her 14-year-old nephew with his answers by whispering them to him when he got stuck.

Question: What is the name of the main female lead in Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’?
Jo (whispering): Desdemona
Nephew: What?
J: Desdemona.
N: What?
J: Desdemona.
N (calling out his answer): Dennis the Moaner!

I’m still giggling at that one! Have a good week!